The 33rd running of this iconic Montana Half Marathon on plowed roads around Seeley Lake is a must do for any 406 Runner. With a course situated in the Swan Valley in February, you never know what you will get in terms of weather (see-wind and cold!), or road conditions (see-Ice!). Yet these uncontrollable factors do not seem to effect the ever increasing turnout for this event. Perhaps it is the sense of community, or the surprisingly deep field of competition, or just the excuse to use Snow Joke as a “rust buster” and get the legs turing over again. Whatever the motivation, runners, walkers, and occasionally their dogs (yes there is a canine division) from all corners of the state come out for this fun and affordable ($15) race. Witnessing the extremely unique (trust me) awards ceremony alone would be worth that much for most people!
From the humble beginnings in 1980 with 32 finishers, the Snow Joke has exploded in numbers with a record turnout in 2010 reaching 659 runners coming out of the woodwork. With slighlty less favorable conditions, 450 people still finished in 2011. Last year, Missoula’s Jimmy Grant won with a time of 1:14:56, while Missoula’s Kara DeWalt took home the women’s win in 1:23:57.
The Seeley Lake forecast shows a high of 34 degrees and snow this weekend. As the Cheetah Herders website says “Event held regardless of weather – no wimps please.” Sounds like great weather to temper your character early season and enjoy some miles with friends.
To learn more about the event go to www.cheetahherders.com.